Back-to-school is looking more like back-to-remote-learning-at-home for so many families this new academic year. For parents that work remotely at home, the neverending juggle is all too real, especially when you add breakfast/lunch/dinner prep to the mix—not to mention having snacks handy. Find balance by scheduling a few meal deliveries in advance, well before meal-planning fatigue sets in, so you can count on having healthy meals ready-to-go minus the headache. Read on and delete “lunch lady” from your list of newly acquired COVID-related titles.

 

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Home Chef

Versatility is what makes Home Chef stand out in the meal delivery crowd. And with lunch meal kits that can be assembled in less than five minutes, Home Chef is the perfect solution to parents stuck filling in for the school cafeteria at home. You can choose to select your meals ahead of time and have everything direct to your door; or for those that prefer to skip the planning phase, wing it and grab a meal to go at Mariano’s. Every kit you order from Home Chef has all the ingredients you need to make a simple delicious meal with dinner options that take 15-30 minutes or less. They also make it easy to customize your protein in online orders and slow cooker, carb and calorie-conscious meals are available, too. Save even more time by adding pantry staples to your order from their curated selection and you’ll always be able to count on a well-stocked kitchen.

Online: homechef.com

 

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Farmer's Fridge 

Farmer's Fridge makes it easier than ever to stock your fridge with ready-to-eat, affordable healthy meals and snacks. Their recyclable plastic jars of salad, yogurt parfaits, burrito bowls, overnight oats and mini jars of snacks like cheese cubes, trail mix, gluten-free cookie dough bites, falafel and diced grilled chicken are perfect for families that need plenty of healthy options on hand for picky eaters. Plus you can reuse the jars to store crayons, small toys, art supplies, etc. Check out the Farmer’s Fridge Chef Collabs, a new series of dishes inspired by what their chefs are eating right now, with a portion of proceeds donated to the charity of each chef’s choice.

Online: delivery.farmersfridge.com

 

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Kitchfix

Kitchfix brings healthy meals and snacks direct to your door. Their chef-driven menu highlights delicious, whole ingredients and pasture-raised meats from local farms. Families can choose medium or large-sized portions, shop based on dietary restrictions, and even customize most meals to nutritional needs. The chef-crafted menu which always included plenty of kid-friendly options changes weekly, so choose to order for delivery “this week” or “next week.” Choose delivery to your home or office, or pick up from a convenient hub, then receive, reheat, and enjoy!

Tip: Be sure to try their wildly popular grain-free granola and waffles, both quick, easy and healthy breakfast options when paired with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Online: kitchfix.com

 

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Tovala

Tovala bills itself as “a meal service for insanely busy people” because it eliminates the need to food shop, prep, cook and clean thanks to their WiFi-connected smart oven (which you can order through them). You’ll receive weekly deliveries of chef-made meals; just pop them into your Tovala oven, scan a QR code and the oven automatically steams, bakes and broils just like a regular oven.

Online: tovala.com

 

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HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a pretty great option for families that like to serve home-cooked meals. . . but don't have time for grocery shopping or extensive meal prep. Expect a box to arrive on your doorstep filled with all the high-quality, farm-fresh ingredients you need to prep quick, easy and healthy meals. Easy-to-follow recipes with clear nutritional info make meal prep fast and simple, so you can get a meal on the table in a flash. Families can customize their tastes, too, by requesting veggie-based meals or taking a pass on certain ingredients that kids often despise (mushrooms, kiddos?), and the family-friendly plan guarantees meals that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Online: hellofresh.com

 

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Nurture Life

Planning and prepping three square meals a day for the kids at home is never easy. Enter Chicago-based subscription meal service Nurture Life: they’ll prepare fresh, ready-to-enjoy food options that appeal to kids ages 10 mos.-11 yrs  (as well as teen, adult and family-style meals) and deliver them straight to your door in refrigerated boxes. Each meal focuses on organic produce, antibiotic-free proteins and whole grains and can be served up in two minutes or less.

Online: nurturelife.com

 

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Veestro

Veestro asks consumers to “imagine devouring delicious, healthy meals daily without so much as lifting a pot”. For families following a plant-based diet, or for anyone looking to dip their toes into giving it a try, Veestro offers vegan meal delivery direct to your home. All meals are chef-prepared, made fresh from organic, non-GMO plants and their creative recipes combat the myth that vegans only eat kale. Each meal arrives frozen in an insulated shipping container and can be kept in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.

Online: veestro.com

 

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Freshly

Freshly delivers balanced, flavorful, better-for-you meals, ready to eat in just three minutes. Complex carbs, nutrient-dense ingredients, quality proteins and healthy fats are the focus, and every meal is certified gluten-free and excludes 85+ banned ingredients Freshly says “no” to, keeping your family’s nutrition on point. Each Freshly meal is perfectly sized for one person to enjoy at one sitting, and you can customize your order to your family’s size, with plans starting at four meals per week. Plus the menu features healthy kid (and adult!) favorites like chicken parm, Swedish meatballs and down-home turkey meatloaf.

Online: freshly.com

 

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Jafflz

Jafflz delivers a fun, healthy lunchtime option to your doorstep: Jaffles, traditional South African toaster-type sandwiches with savory fillings like BBQ sloppy joe, mac ‘n cheese, enchilada, cheese pizza and more. South African native Meryl van der Merwe, a classically trained gourmet chef and mom, built her company with a goal to provide wholesome meals for health-conscious families on the go. Made from scratch with all-natural premium ingredients, the sandwiches arrive at your door frozen and are easy enough for even a kid to reheat in a microwave, oven or toaster oven. Select between a 6, 8, 10, 14, 18 or 20 Jafflz® variety pack, or choose a box of your faves so you always have a healthy lunch in the freezer, ready to reheat and eat in a flash.

Online: jafflz.com

Just for fun, check out the Lunch Lady paperback series by Jarrett Krosocka on Amazon. Much to the surprise of characters Hector, Terrence, and Dee, they find out through some detective-level sleuthing their mysterious lunch lady serves sloppy joes by day and justice by night!

— Amy Bizzarri

Featured photo: courtesy of Freshly

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